13 September 2001
Transcript: Powell September 12 Interview on National Public Radio
(Says number of Arab states support U.S. in fight against
Secretary of State Colin Powell, interviewed September 12 by National
Public Radio, says he expects the active support of friendly Muslim
states in the global fight against terrorism following the terrorist
attacks in New York and Washington.
In response to a question, Powell said "they realize that terrorism of
this kind is a threat to any civilization. And they are friends of
ours and they want to work with us and they want to help us, so I know
that there will be a number of nations in the region, in the Persian
Gulf and the Middle East region, that will be cooperating with us. And
I am continuing to make phone calls to that end."
Following is the transcript as released by the State Department:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
September 12, 2001
SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN L. POWELL
BY NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO
September 12, 2001
QUESTION: The Secretary of State Colin Powell today pledged a global
fight against terrorism involving not only NATO but also Muslim
Secretary Powell, do you expect to have the active support of friendly
Muslim states in that effort?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, I have already been in touch with some Arab
states in the region. They realize that terrorism of this kind is a
threat to any civilization. And they are friends of ours and they want
to work with us and they want to help us, so I know that there will be
a number of nations in the region, in the Persian Gulf and the Middle
East region, that will be cooperating with us. And I am continuing to
make phone calls to that end.
QUESTION: Have you spoken to people in Saudi Arabia and Egypt?
SECRETARY POWELL: I have spoken to people in Saudi Arabia. I have
spoken to the Chairman of the Arab League, Mr. Amr Moussa. And I have
calls in to other leaders in the region now.
QUESTION: When you spoke with them today, did they raise the linkage
of this terrorist attack to Israeli actions in the Middle East or to
US policy on the Israel-Palestinian dispute?
SECRETARY POWELL: They did not. And the simple reason is that this act
is so horrible, so horrendous in its nature and dimensions, that there
can be no justification. Even though we have a difficult situation
between the Israelis and the Palestinians, no way could that justify
this kind of attack against innocent people which costs thousands of
lives. And none of them suggested that, nor would I have expected them
QUESTION: How strong a link would you say there is now from all that
you know about yesterday's attacks between what happened and people
associated with Usama bin Laden?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I am going to let the intelligence community
and our law enforcement agencies describe the strengths of links to
any particular terrorist organization or network. Let me just say that
there is a body of evidence that is developing that I think in the
very near future will point us in a specific direction. But I don't
want to handicap that with describing it as being either strong or
we're this sure or that sure.
QUESTION: How important is it in whatever the United States does, say
if there is some military retaliation down the road, how important is
it that there be allies, including Muslim nations, in that action?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think it is always best to have a coalition when
you are going after a problem or dealing with a threat that really is
not just directed at America; it is directed at civilization. And so
to the extent that you can put a coalition together, you are bringing
the weight of the international community along with you. It doesn't
mean that every member of that coalition has to participate in some
military way. Political support, diplomatic support, other kinds of
support can be just as useful. It is not clear to me we would need
anyone's direct military involvement should we go down a road of
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, the newspaper headlines in New York today,
a lot of them, screamed the word "war." I wonder, is that appropriate?
Do we regard this as the equivalent to war?
SECRETARY POWELL: The President believes that it was an act of war
against us, not a war of the kind that we have seen before such as
World War II or Korea or Vietnam. And Korea and Vietnam were not
called wars but they certainly were wars. But it is an act of war.
When you attack our homeland, when you attacked two places such as the
World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon, that is an act of war
against our sovereignty, against the security of our people. When you
kill thousands of our civilians, there is no other way to characterize
It doesn't mean necessarily that it results in, say, a declaration of
war -- Congress would have to make that judgment anyway -- but it
means that we have to really mobilize ourselves and all of the assets
at our disposal -- political, diplomatic, legal, law enforcement,
intelligence and military -- to deal with those who perpetrated this
act of war against us.
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, thank you very much for talking with us.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Bob.
(end State Department transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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